Considering that quality landscaping can increase a home’s resale value by as much as 14%, it’s not surprising that many homeowners are quite sensitive about grass-destroying trespassers. But for a recent case in Anaheim, California, a went much further than simply yelling, “Get off my lawn!”
Instead, this incident ended with an off-duty police officer discharging his firearm in the middle of a group of children. Understandably, that’s caused some controversy.
Los Angeles police officer Kevin Ferguson was standing outside his home drinking a beer when a 13-year-old teen stepped on his grass back on February 21. Angered, Ferguson rushed the teen and his group of friends, dragging him quite a distance before the cop was tackled by the teen’s friends. When Ferguson tumbled over a hedge, he pulled out a firearm and discharged his weapon around the group of teens, which caused them to scatter.
The incident, which was caught on video, did not show the officer aiming at the group of kids.
The police were called, and a 13-year-old was arrested for criminal threats while his 15-year-old friend was arrested for battery. Ferguson, who has been a patrol cop for four years, was not arrested.
That night, once word of the incident spread, Ferguson’s neighborhood was vandalized with anti-police graffiti. Protestors came in droves, holding signs saying things like “Arrest Violent Cops.”
This unrest offers a stark contrast to the neighborhood’s past, which has seemingly been the epitome of picture perfect suburbia. However, according to one of Ferguson’s neighbors, things have been changing in recent years, and he has seen reckless teens all over the place.
The anonymous neighbor explained to The Orange County Register that he has lived in his home for more than a half-century. During this time, he has seen enormous changes in his neighborhood including everything from apartments going up to the installation of a skate park nearby. And considering that 11 million people report that they enjoy skateboarding on a regular basis, including millions of teenagers, this is prime real estate for teenagers to be hanging around.
Still, no matter what the teens did, protestors believe the officer’s actions were a dangerous overreaction, especially for a police officer trained to deescalate situations.
Now, the 13-year-old’s parents have filed a civil lawsuit against Ferguson, claiming the cop brutally attacked the child and deeply violated his civil rights. In the lawsuit, the teen’s parents explain that Ferguson assaulted, falsely imprisoned, and caused the teen great emotional distress.
In response to these claims, Anaheim police explain that the teen had threatened to shoot Ferguson — which the teen strongly denies — and that the cop was only acting in self-defense when he detained the teen.
The parents allege their son said, ” I am going to sue you,” rather than ” I am going to shoot you.
The incident has sparked controversy nationwide and has caused many to call for Fergusons’s dismissal from the Los Angeles Police Department.